The U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announced that musician/entrepreneur and social philanthropist, Pete Wentz will be the national spokesperson for the 2010 UNICEF Tap Project.

Now in its fourth year, the UNICEF Tap Project is a grassroots initiative that will take place during World Water Week 2010 (March 21-27) and invites individuals to donate $1 or more for tap water at participating restaurants to provide clean water to children around the world.

Best known as the bassist for the immensely popular rock band, Fall Out Boy, Wentz has been regularly active—both at home and abroad—in supporting social causes which impact the well-being of children.

“It’s truly an honor to be the national spokesperson for the Tap Project and support efforts to provide clean water to children in the developing world,” said Wentz. “Water is something that we as Americans often take for granted but the reality is, the lack of clean and accessible drinking water kills 4,100 children under the age of five every day and as a new father I have become highly attuned to the needs of children everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s usually when emergencies like Haiti occur, that the importance of clean water really becomes apparent to the rest of us.”

In its four years of existence, the UNICEF Tap Project has become a uniquely hip, award-winning national campaign which has attracted a wide swath of volunteers and celebrity supporters. With a dynamic presence in social media and vibrant advertising creative as a mainstay, the Tap Project has been particularly popular among the college-aged demographic and the young urban professional set.

As national spokesperson for the UNICEF Tap Project, Wentz will be the face and voice of the campaign offering the Tap Project to individuals and restaurants across the nation as a simple and effective way to make a difference in a child’s life. Wentz will not only lend his name and likeness to support the initiative, but will also be available for national media opportunities which allow him to raise awareness of the global water crisis and its impact on children.

Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised nearly $1.5 million in the U.S. and has helped to provide clean water to millions of children around the world. Countries slated to receive 2010 funding include: Central African Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Togo and Vietnam.

In 2009 alone, more than 1,500 restaurants from 40 states and more than 3100 volunteers participated in the national campaign, making it the largest volunteer mobilization effort for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Giorgio Armani's men’s fragrance, ACQUA DI GIO FOR MEN, is the 2010 National Supporter of the UNICEF Tap Project.

“Whether it’s supporting the psychosocial needs of children affected by conflict in Uganda, or helping organize American youth to lobby Congress on social justice issues, Pete has been a true and dedicated friend to the world’s children,” said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We feel strongly that Pete is the right fit for Tap and we’re thrilled he has agreed to join us in our larger mission to reduce the number of preventable childhood deaths from 24,000 daily to zero.”

This year’s initiative will rely heavily on volunteers expanding their efforts beyond restaurant recruitment to include other grassroots activities like community water walks, dinner parties, fundraisers, concerts and more.

Previous national spokespeople for the Tap Project have included, UNICEF ambassadors: Sarah Jessica Parker (2007), Lucy Liu (2008) and Joel and Benji Madden (2009).

Nearly 900 million people do not have access to clean water and nearly half of those people are children. Young children are the first to get sick and die from waterborne and sanitation-related illnesses including diarrheal diseases and malaria.

UNICEF works in more than 100 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. Over the past 15 years, more than a billion people gained access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities thanks to UNICEF’s efforts. Every day, 24,000 children die of preventable causes, and UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes to make that number zero. With $1, UNICEF can provide one child access to safe, clean water for 40 days.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, visit www.tapproject.org

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